Angela Glover Blackwell
Last year’s keynote panel invited attendees to imagine a more just and liberated society. We honed in on clear steps for how we – as affordable housing practitioners and advocates – can actively create system-wide change and racial and economic justice. What is our role in this critical moment to create the future we’d like to see for all of our communities?
Angela Glover Blackwell: Angela Glover Blackwell is Founder in Residence at PolicyLink, the organization she started in 1999 to advance racial and economic equity for all. Under Angela’s leadership, PolicyLink gained national prominence in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, and infrastructure. Her Radical Imagination podcast debuted in September 2019, introducing listeners to a world of creative, progressive thinkers whose vision is challenging the status quo to create the change we need.
Prior to founding PolicyLink, Angela served as Senior Vice President at The Rockefeller Foundation. A lawyer by training, she gained national recognition as founder of the Urban Strategies Council. From 1977 to 1987, Angela was a partner at Public Advocates. Angela is the co-author of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, and she authored The Curb Cut Effect, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2017.
As a leading voice in the movement for equity in America, Angela serves on numerous boards. She advised the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve as one of 15 members of its inaugural Community Advisory Council, and in 2020 was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to the state Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. She is the 2018 recipient of the John W. Gardner Leadership Award, presented by the Independent Sector, and in 2017, she received the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award from the University of California, Berkeley.
Vu Le: Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the former Executive Director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities.
Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.
Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at NonprofitAF.com, formerly nonprofitwithballs.com.
Heather McGhee: Heather designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. Her upcoming book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together is now available for pre-order from One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Her 2020 TED talk, “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone” reached 1 million views in just two months online. In the coming year, she will launch two original podcasts on the economy and on how to create cross-racial solidarity in challenging times.
As an NBC News Political Analyst, Heather regularly elevates the concerns of working families on shows including “Meet the Press”. She has testified in Congress, drafted legislation, and developed strategies for organizations and campaigns that won changes to improve the lives of millions. For nearly two decades, Heather helped build the non-partisan “think and do” tank Demos, serving four years as president.
Heather graduated from Yale University and University of California Berkeley School of Law, and has an honorary degree from Muhlenberg College. She is the chair of the board of Color of Change, the country’s largest online racial justice organization, and volunteers for numerous other boards in the fields of philanthropy and social justice. She lives in Brooklyn with her urbanist husband, an eighteen year-old cat and a chatty toddler.
Fred Blackwell (moderator): Fred Blackwell is the CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country. The San Francisco Foundation works hand-in-hand with donors, community leaders, and both public and private partners to create thriving communities throughout the Bay Area. Since joining the foundation in 2014, Blackwell has led it in a renewed commitment to social justice through an equity agenda focused on racial and economic inclusion.
Blackwell, an Oakland native, is a nationally recognized community leader with a longstanding career in the Bay Area. Prior to joining the foundation, he served as interim city administrator for the city of Oakland, where he previously served as the assistant city administrator. He was the executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco; he served as the director of the Making Connections Initiative for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Lower San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland; he was a Multicultural Fellow in Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation; and he subsequently managed a multiyear comprehensive community initiative for the San Francisco Foundation in West Oakland.
Blackwell serves on the board of the Independent Sector, Northern California Grantmakers, the Bridgespan Group, the dean’s advisory council for UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and the community advisory council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. He previously served on the boards of the California Redevelopment Association, Urban Habitat Program, LeaderSpring and Leadership Excellence. He is a visiting professor in the department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and the Co-Chair of CASA — The Committee to House the Bay Area. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College.